Bachelor of Science in Public Policy

Bachelor of Science in Public Policy

Our proximity to the state capital at Harrisburg provides students with a rich environment for both study and for internships. In addition to our full-time faculty, Public Policy draws on part-time faculty with particular professional strengths. In recent years students have explored politics and political issues in classes taught by a state senator, a former lieutenant governor, a corrections system administrator, and a governor’s press secretary. This integration of academic study with the "real world" of Pennsylvania politics and policy making is further enhanced through quality internships.

The program prides itself in placing qualified students in internships that facilitate the development of professional skills and promote the prospects for professional employment following graduation. Internship options include the Harrisburg Semester: Policy making in Harrisburg - Internships and Seminar. Students are encouraged to complete an internship during their senior year. Additional information regarding internships may be obtained by contacting the Public Policy Internship Coordinator.

Career Opportunities

Students graduating in the major of Public Policy can plan for a career in a variety of professional environments. The program provides a unique opportunity for students to tailor study to a specific interest or to one of the designed concentrations. Students graduating with a concentration in Law and Justice: The Legal System are prepared for careers related to the legal aspects of public policy. Those who have studied in the concentration of World Politics: National Security, International Relations, Comparative Politics are prepared for careers in international service, foreign affairs offices, and multinational corporations. Students whose concentration was American Politics: Process and Management are prepared for careers in campaign management, political consulting, polling, and politics. Those who studied under the concentration of Public Management: Theory and Practice are prepared for careers in leadership and staff positions in local, county, state, and international government. A Public Policy degree provides an excellent background for entry into a variety of graduate programs, including law school, Master of Public Administration degree programs, and graduate degree programs in political science and public policy.

Job Titles

The Public Policy major is designed for students interested in policy issues, politics, public administration, and related areas like policy analysis and policy advocacy. The program explores a myriad of critical issues facing our communities, the nation, and the world. Students receive the educational foundation for careers in the public sector, in government-related businesses, and in non-profit organizations, as well as for graduate work in the fields of law, public administration, criminal justice, public policy, political science, and health care administration. Building on the program core, students may choose electives from a broad array of courses in public policy and other areas

The following lists some of the job titles for graduates of the Public Policy program: Government Administration/Management, Non-Profit Management, Legislative Staff, Lobbyist, Management Analyst, Policy Analyst, Survey Research, Strategic Planner.

Job Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly 40 percent of all Public Policy graduates are employed in government positions. A large number of Public Policy graduates become employed in the private sector for businesses and corporations, 10 percent in education, 3 percent in nonprofit administration, and 5 percent are self-employed.


Internships are an important part of the Public Policy program at Penn State Harrisburg. Their purpose is to provide students with a realistic exposure to the public policy professional environment, while also providing practical, on-the-job experience in their field of study while earning academic credit. Penn State Harrisburg’s proximity to the state capital provides many exciting opportunities for student internships in state agencies, the legislature, and political organizations. All students are encouraged to begin preparation for an internship upon admission into the Public Policy major. Most internships are completed during the senior year. Students applying for internships must have completed 60 credits, have a 3.0 grade-point average or higher, have completed core course work, demonstrate computer literacy, and have the permission of the internship coordinator. Additional information regarding internships may be obtained by contacting Dr. Steven A. Peterson at